I couldn’t be more excited about the merge of mu into 3.0. Finally I can come out of the closet I’ve been hiding in for so long.
On most forums, as soon as I mention that I run mu, I get the proverbial, ‘not supported’, argument, whether it’s a theme or plugin purchase, or even a simple question. I suppose in the long run I should be grateful for the treatment I received most places as it really has taught me to be more self-sufficient. I actually spend more time now learning how to code then all other activities combined. As frustrating as it’s been, I have to say it’s been more than worth it. It’s almost a joke going back a year or two and reading the questions I had on other forums. And to think.. at the time I was running hundreds of client websites. Little did I know just how little I actually knew. It’s also important to mention that the absolute best wp coders that I have met all either run mu, or are intimately familiar with it. Many of those people are here on this site. Their level of expertise is head and shoulders above the normal wp user.
@johnjamesjacoby has it absolutely correct. The more time you spend on the theme of the site, and especially the back-end administration portion, the more the site really starts to shine. I’d say that I spend an equal part on modifying the looks and functionality of the backend as I do the theme. Basically every time one of my customers asks me how to do something that I believe they should be able to figure out on their own, I go back and try to find ways of making it more intuitive for them.
Most of my clients don’t even know they are running wp/bp. They simply wanted internal group communication systems, and it just turns out that bp fits the bill almost perfectly. What better system could there be than a system where I can give a client who has multiple locations a series of sites all connected together, cohesive, and simple to use. Gone are the days of having to stitch together or bridge multiple systems. I’m so glad that I will never have to write or pay for another bridge script again, only to have one of the products die a slow death on the vine. I really believe wordpress and possibly buddypress are here for the long haul.
It’s also important to mirror what JJJ said about site size vs. features. I have some very small client sites, where it would make no sense to turn on most features. Doing that would only confuse the users and make it look awfully lonely. Then again I have sites with thousands of users. Turning on most of the features for them would make perfect sense, as everyone finds their own little area of the site that they enjoy. Bp makes this very easy.
@shnooka30 I’m actually one of those people who couldn’t be more excited about the plugins to give sub-blogs their own bp installs. To me, that is the biggest current downfall of bp, other than privacy and spam which are being addressed.
The entire reason I went to wpmu in the first place was that it was horribly inefficient to run hundreds of separate installs. I spent way to much time having to update sites one at a time. Wpmu, literally saved me hundreds of hours a year in updating time alone. It’s only because of the plugin not being available yet that I don’t offer bp to many of my client sites. When the plugin is ready, then I hope to jump in with both feet. At least the wait has given me the time to get a real understanding of the bp code base before adding it to the mix.
Bottom line is those who run undermanned or lousy setups of bp on shared hosting, which is the majority of users, will die off very quickly. Everyone else who does it right will appear so different in both appearance and service, that the public won’t even put the two together.